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Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
Nakajima Ki-43 Type I Hayabusa (Oscar)

by Thomas Wielecki


Nakajima Ki-43-I Hayabusa (Oscar)

images by Brett Green  

Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Oscar Type I is available online from Squadron 




The Obsession...

Chips, chips, chips and more chips.

The more I pored over wartime photographs of Japanese aircraft, the more missing paint I saw. After a while a certain pattern started to emerge. The paint seemed to come off in leaves and whole sheets, as though a mischievous apprentice smeared grease all over the airframe the night before the painters top coated the planes in the factory.

The more you look the more you see. In my case it became an obsession. My girlfriend would sometimes wake me up from staring at the one picture after a whole chunk of time had gone missing. Anyway, my point here is that the missing paint took on a particular shape; it was hard edged, angular and quite complex. Sort of like a random scattering of maple leaves blown into gutters (panel lines) and along walls in autumn.


Being incredibly fascinated by this whole “missing paint” phenomenon I needed a subject to replicate the look on. A Zero was too common, and as much as I wanted a Betty I couldn’t find one right now. The little Oscar sitting at the bottom of a pile of Hasegawa boxes in the Hobby shop called out “take me” in a low whisper. Perfect: simple elegant lines, unusual subject and plain colour scheme.



Painting and Chipping


After the cockpit was completed and the airframe together, sanded, polished and ready for painting I began practicing the art of chipping on bits of plastic. Sand paper of various grades scratched the topcoat off; it looked wrong. Silver pencils and fine brushes gave me round blotches, not angular random shapes. More like an oak leaf, not the maple leaves I was after. A fresh blade gently lifting tiny bits of freshly dried paint did the trick. It was tedious work but at least this way I had full control on how much paint I wanted to chip off here and there.

For this process the base coat, or metal skin of the aircraft needed to be less “chippable” than the green colour applied over it. You don’t want to see grey Hasegawa plastic peeking through the metal; not very realistic, is it? Again, milking various people’s minds and reading up on other modellers’ experiences finally gave me a few leads. I settled on Tamiya bare-metal silver (AS-12) sprayed directly from the aerosol can. This is a laquer based paint and therefore it “bites” into the plastic rather than just sit on top of it. That’s the theory anyway. In hindsight I should have drained some of the paint into the airbrush and applied it that way. The surface turned out like fine orange peel. Never mind, next time it’ll be better.


The particular Oscar I chose to model was an Imperial Japanese Army aircraft. Gunze acrylics were used. IJA code number H-60 was mixed with a few drops of IJN H-59 (a Japanese Navy colour) to darken it ever so slightly. A thin patchy coat went on. I stress THIN. This is only a base that acts a bit like pre-shading. I applied it translucent on top; ie the top of the wings and stabiliser and along the top surface of the fuselage. It was slightly thicker where the sun doesn’t attack quite so fiercely; ie fuselage sides, fin and rudder. Then as the final coat the Army colour H-60 was very delicately lightened with a few drops of white. Again a patchy thin coat went over the darker base. The difference in colours is slight but enough to break the flatness of a featureless green.

Immediately after the greens were applied I took to the Oscar with a sharp blade and chipped away. The paint is still soft and comes off easily without disturbing the bare metal. By now I was so sick of it I left it for a few days.

The wheel well colour was a mix of translucent blue and green watered down with acrylic thinner and brushed onto the bare metal. It kind of acts as a wash flooding the little nooks and crannies automatically giving a weathered effect.



Hinomarus, red lightning bolt on the fuselage sides, fuselage band and black anti glare panel were masked off and airbrushed on. The only decals are the Japanese character on either side of the fin. Scheme two from Aeromaster sheet number 48-381 (Ki-43 IJAAF Falcons Pt. III) was the inspiration. Apparently it was flown by Sgt. Isamu Sasaki who amassed 38 victories and survived the war.





I could go on and on about other detailing like the exhausts and their rusty effect and break lines being thicker where the rubber hose attaches to the metal hose and raising the flaps from the down-only position provided by Hasegawa.



 But I’ve had enough for one session and so have you I’m sure.


Model and Text Copyright © 2004 by Thomas Wielecki
Images Copyright © 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 19 May, 2004
Last Updated 27 May, 2004

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